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Thomson Education Direct - Europe and University of East London Launch Social Care Degree in the UK


London, 04/11/2006, Thomson Education Direct – Europe, a part of the Thomson Corporation (TSX: TOC; NYSE: TOC), today announced the launch of the first full Honours degree program in social care available in the UK.

Developed in collaboration with the University of East London, the Social Care BA (Hons) program addresses the pronounced, ongoing demand for care professionals as well as the growing call for formalized training for them. By creating a degree program tailored to the specific needs of social care workers, Thomson Education Direct - Europe aims to enhance the quality of care and services, promote career and professional development opportunities within the field and by formally codifying and recognizing caregiving expertise, improve the recruitment and retention of social care workers.

In addition, because the degree is delivered by distance learning, through ICS (International Correspondence Schools), a part of Thomson Education Direct - Europe, it is uniquely suited to meet the flexibility required by its students. Social care workers, like many in the helping professions, have demanding work schedules that limit traditional educational opportunities. Through ICS, there are no fixed term times, and no set timetables for courses, which allows students to work at the own their pace based on their own schedule. Online course management functionality allows students to submit assessments and queries online, communicate with fellow students via discussion forums and benefit from the latest study resources, anytime from anywhere.

The program curriculum, drawn from market research and information from academics and industry professionals, provides skill training and learning resources geared to the unique requirements of those serving as caregivers in home, residential, assisted living and other settings. Prior to this program, the only formal qualifications available to care workers were National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), foundation social care degrees, general Health and Social Care degrees or generic social work degrees. However, those programs didn’t necessarily support the needs of the vast array of individuals performing the highly valuable and challenging caregiving roles.

“We developed this course, in part, to address the growing pressure on employers to recruit, train and retain qualified individuals in this sector,” said Cor Vink, president, Thomson Education Direct, International. “But, ultimately, it’s about more than simply filling available jobs. It’s about recognizing the expertise of those individuals committed to ensuring the quality of care for vulnerable groups within our society, as well as providing them the tools and skills with which to provide these populations with the best service possible.”

There has been a debate on formalizing the qualifications for individuals working within social care since February last year, when the Department of Health’s community care minister, Dr. Stephen Ladyman, made a speech to TOPSS England (the employment-led strategic body for workforce development in social care, from April 2005 renamed ’Skills for Care’).

The ICS Social Care degree launches at the same time the Department of Health begins a national recruitment campaign to encourage more people to find out about opportunities in social care work. Advertising will be appearing on television, radio and in the press, nationally and locally, across England.

“Social care can be a highly rewarding and challenging career,” continued Vink. “But as in any other industry, social care professionals want guidance to develop their skills and then recognition for their achievements. And for their part, those being cared for deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing their caregiver is well trained and properly skilled.”

Launching in March 2006, the BA (Hons) Social Care degree is the only specific full social care degree available in the UK. For more information, email or visit:

About ICS and UEL

ICS (International Correspondence Schools), part of Thomson Education Direct – Europe, and one of the oldest and largest distance learning institutions in the world, is working in partnership with the University of East London to offer students the opportunity to take a fully accredited degree program by distance learning, supported by online applications.

ICS currently offers eight distance learning degree courses in areas such as Law, Business and Psychology, and five Associate Undergraduate Certificates in Social Care. ICS has over 1000 students studying in these courses, which are developed, designed, produced and supported by ICS staff, and validated by UEL. A full range of degree programs in the Health and Social Care field is due for launch later this year.

About The Thomson Corporation

The Thomson Corporation ( ), with 2005 revenues of $8.70 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate e-learning and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 40,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation’s common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).

About the University of East London

The University of East London (UEL) is now rated London’s leading modern (post-1992) university, and among the top five modern universities in the UK, according to the Guardian University Guide 2005/06. UEL is a global learning community, with 19,000 students from over 100 countries worldwide.

Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of our diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.


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